Programme Planning Groups (PPGs) are the means by which Scientific Research Programmes (SRPs) are developed and proposed, through wide consultation with the community. SRPs address major, priority, scientific issues of global or fundamental importance, at the cutting edge of the science, requiring substantial fieldwork and/or observations in the Antarctic. For information on the procedure to establish a new Scientific Research Programme, please see pdf the SRP Guidelines document (121 KB) .
Three PPGs were proposed and approved at the XXXV SCAR Delegates Meeting in June 2018.
Integrated Science to Support Antarctic and Southern Ocean Conservation (Ant-ICON)
The Ant-ICON SRP will answer fundamental science questions (as identified by the SCAR Horizon Scan), relating to the conservation and management of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean and focus on research to drive and inform international decision-making and policy change.
While there is a strong biological focus for much of the research, the proposed SRP will integrate research from multiple disciplines, complement existing SCAR activities and work with feedback from policy bodies to achieve conservation outcomes in Antarctica and protect Antarctic values. The SRP will focus on four research themes, broadly covering: i) integrated forecasting of future change to support conservation planning; ii) environmental sustainability of human activities in Antarctica; iii) Antarctic conservation in a global context; and iv) socio-ecological approaches to conservation planning.
Near-term Variability and Prediction of the Antarctic Climate System (AntClimnow)
The AntClimnow SRP concerns the investigation of prediction of near-term conditions in the Antarctic climate system on timescales of years to multiple decades. These time scales are highly relevant across multiple disciplines and to a range of key stakeholders, whilst aligning strongly with scientific priorities identified as part of the SCAR Horizon Scan. New capabilities are emerging that will help to improve our understanding and our ability to quantify the envelope of possible near-term future climate states across a range of spatial scales. These advances include progress in modelling future climate change, understanding contemporary climate change and variability, and reconstructing past climate. A more integrated approach would also help to look beyond climate projections of the physical system, but consider the Antarctic environment as a whole.
Membership is drawn from the physical sciences and biological sciences, with expertise covering atmosphere, ocean, ice, chemistry and biology.
Antarctic Ice Sheet Dynamics and Global Sea Level (AISSL)
The AISSL SRP addresses a first-order question about Antarctica’s contribution to sea level. It encompasses geoscience, physical sciences and biological sciences, of the way in which interactions between the ocean, atmosphere and cryosphere have influenced ice-sheets in the past, and what expectations will be in the future with a special focus on quantifying the contributions to global sea level change.
The aim of the SRP is to “quantify the Antarctic ice sheet contribution to past and future global sea-level change, from improved understanding of climate, ocean and solid Earth interactions and feedbacks with the ice, so that decision-makers can better anticipate and assess the risk in order to manage and adapt to sea-level rise and evaluate mitigation pathways”.
The proposed programme is structured into four themes:
- Improved understanding of atmosphere-ocean forcing processes of marine-based ice sheet dynamics.
- Improved understanding of solid Earth feedbacks on ice sheet dynamics and regional sea-level variations.
- Improved understanding of spatial and temporal changes in Antarctica’s ice sheets during the LGM and deglaciation, and for past “warmer-than-present” interglacials and high CO2 worlds.
- Improved projections of Antarctic contribution global sea-level change – consequences and impacts.
The outcomes will include improved projections, and their associated risk profiles that will be of of broad interest to decision-makers, civil society, business, industry, agricultural, infrastructure, finance and insurance sectors.